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Airline tickets for 90 day stay.

I'm trying to figure out what is the best way to buy a ticket for a 90 day stay (or 89 since I want to be on the safe side). I know the return flights aren't released until 330 days out and hate to wait that long to purchase a ticket. I'll be flying Delta so I'm not sure they'll have an open ended option. Ideas? Or do I just have to wait to buy a round trip ticket 330 days out from my return?

Posted by
1075 posts

Delta has free changes on certain class seats. You could purchase a return flight earlier than what you want and then change it to a later flight. Be aware, however, that if the price is higher than your original ticket you will have to pay the difference. And if the ticket is cheaper, you will get a Delta credit.

I generally buy my tickets early, however, most people on the forum will advise you that you are buying too early and you should wait until the return flights are available.

Posted by
8406 posts

We all have something new we may want to consider. Be careful with 89-90 days because if you test positive, you'll have to stay beyond the 90 days.

Isolation is 10 days unless you still have a fever. Since you will continue to test positive for up to 90 days beyond the illness, next you need to obtain a doctor's letter for the CDC to be allowed to fly back. This will be on day 11. Now you are ready to fly.

Should we be figuring this cushion into our overseas time?

Posted by
1122 posts

Advice: Don't cut it too close. Going 89 days doesn't even give you a margin of error in case you get ill and can't fly, etc.

Posted by
21076 posts

I have never bought a ticket that far in advance; the earliest was probably a bit less than six months before the outbound flight.

One thing you might do is compare the cost of two one-way tickets to a single round-trip or multi-city ticket. In the past, two one-way tickets would have been much more expensive on the legacy carriers (even a single one-way ticket would probably have cost more than a round-trip), but I've seen some comments to the effect that the pricing paradigm has shifted. I haven't explored that myself but plan to do so for whatever trip I manage to pull off next year. For one thing, I don't usually know what city I want to fly home from so far in advance--and with COVID, it's even harder to predict.

The farther ahead you buy the ticket, the more likely you are to find your flights rescheduled or canceled in the intervening months. While that's probably not a significant issue for a transatlantic flight from a place like New York to a major European hub, it could be different if you're beginning your trip in a secondary US market or flying to or from a European city with less service.

Posted by
5552 posts

As others have said, you need to leave a bigger margin. Last year, I had the option of losing 3 days or adding 4 days when my flight frequency was reduced.

What if you need to quarantine for 10 days? Who knows whether the quarantine period will be 10 or 14 days etc next year.

Posted by
1144 posts

Bets and Jennifer --
Thank you so much for bringing up the possibility of a quarantine at the end of a 3 month stay.
I had never considered missing the 90 day deadline for such a reason and it is definitely worth plugging into my travel plans.

Posted by
8406 posts

SharYn, It wasn't rocket science but personal experience. Tomorrow is my last day of isolation after testing positive. I'm going to make my flight with only a few day's margin. BTW, thanks to the vaccine, C wasn't as bad as a cold, but it did take up ten days of my time.

One thing I learned is that a person will test positive for up to 90 days, so we can't fly to the US with a negative test. A person who has tested positive needs a doctor's or health department's letter.

Posted by
1812 posts

Bets, I am not in danger of passing the 90 day mark myself (yet) but what a good thought. Also I appreciate the thoughts on what is officially required should I test positive upon return time. So many new things to consider…..

Posted by
9718 posts

So many new things to consider…..

TravelMom, ain’t that the truth!!

Bets! My word!! I’m glad you weren’t dragged down too badly with Covid. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

So I’m guessing you had a day or two on the front end of your illness where there was uncertainty plus maybe a wait for PCR results which might push your planned time out another few days. Not that I’m going to get to the 90 day limit but maybe allowing a cushion of 15-20 days would be adequate to prevent overstay in an emergency.

Posted by
8406 posts

In France, our PCR results arrived the same day. The systems here work very smoothly, but we preceded the current wave by a week. This week, staff is stretched. Isolation for us was counted from the first day symptoms appeared. Other countries count the isolation from the date of the PCR, not even from the date of a preceding positive antigen test. A traveler has to read the CDC requirements carefully to know what the CDC requires. Next, we know our doctor, so we easily set up our appointments on line for the day after isolation ends. But a week later, he is he is slammed and booked up. Therefore, I’d estimate 12-15 days buffer, if a traveler makes the doctor’s appointment for travel authorization as soon as possible.